Giorgione da Castelfranco
 As we saw somewhat with Bellini, we certainly see with Giorgione and Titian: The Venetian painters focus on color and pastoral scenes in harmony with nature. In the painting, Pastoral Symphony (c. 1508), Giorgione shows us a beautiful, Acadian setting with light softly bathing the figures and the hillsides in the distance. What a mood this painting projects........and who wouldn't want to be sitting with the two Venetian gentlemen seated in the foreground? Interestingly enough, they seem totally unaware of the two nude nymphs in front of them.......almost as if they were invisible. And perhaps they are invisible.......perhaps they are personifications of inspiration and not physical beings at all. The fact is that we don't know. What is obvious, though, is the use of the female "Venus" figure to represent the sensuousness of nature and poetic harmony, which is really what this painting is about.

 The painting to the right, The Tempest (c. 1505), is Giorgione's best known next to the Pastoral Symphony. Again, the meaning of the work is not entirely clear. This sort of allegorical presentation was not uncommon during the Renaissance, especially up North. Upon further exploration, we can see this work as the story of Adam and Eve after their expulsion from Eden. Adam, in full Venetian costume, looks across a rocky ledge to Eve, who is nursing Cain, her first born son. Eve looks at us with sort of a guilty look, as she attempts to cover herself in shame. The tempest (the storm) may be seen as God's wrath, having just expelled them from the heavenly city across the bridge in the distance. The broken columns represent the fall from grace and purity. Also, there's a snake down by the rocks (oh yes.......there's always going to be a snake with this story) which is almost impossible to see........but trust me, it's there.

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